|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
The Regina Pats are looking for a bounce back weekend starting Friday when they take on the Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels at the Brandt Centre. The club is coming off a tough couple of losses where they scored just 2 goals in 2 games. Say what you want but this Pats team is still figuring it out and yet sit just a game under 500. Don't write them off. It's been a busy week for the club are here are some updates roster wise.
WAPPLE TRADED - The Pats made some big news last week Thursday trading 20-year-old starting goaltender Daniel Wapple to the Vancouver Giants for a 4th round pick in 2017. First off, Wapple is a heck of a guy and was a pleasure to work with the last two years. I wish him all the best in Vancouver. From a hockey stand point this deal makes perfect sense but it's always tough to see a guy walk out the door. Tyler Brown is now the guy and in his games this year (Victoria aside) he has been fantastic. There are not many guys on this team that work as hard as Brown does to get better and he is an extremely competitive person. It's a move that makes sense with Taylor Cooper, Aaron Macklin and Colby Williams as the 20-year-old's going forward. The Pats were lucky to get anything for Wapple to be honest, the Everett Silvertips had to put Austin Lotz on waivers and lost him for nothing and he has better career numbers.
WILLIAMS CLOSE? - Regina Pats Head Coach and GM John Paddock provided an update on the teams 2014/15 MVP, Colby Williams last week. "Willy, I'm not sure where he is at. When he is ready to play he will tell me when he is ready to play. Other than that, but he's not going to be January until he plays." That last January comment is a little misleading, I believe John meant it to say he will be in the lineup before then. Judging from practice the last little while Colby is close, it's truly a day to day thing with his upper body injury. When he gets back what a boost that will be.
RYKR COLE IS BACK - The Pats 18-year-old forward will be back in the lineup on Friday after missing the last 7 games with a wrist injury. The Moosomin Saskatchewan product took a slap shot against the Edmonton Oil Kings back in October and has been out ever since. Cole was really starting to find his game prior to the injury with 2 goals and 4 points in 5 games prior. He will likely lineup on the left side with Adam Brooks and Austin Wagner against the Rebels Friday.
LESCHYSHYN RETURNS FROM U-17's - The Pats will get another player back into their forward group on Friday. Jake Leschyshyn is back from competing at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with Team Canada in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek B.C. The Grasswood native had a goal and an assist in the tournament as well as the shootout winner against the Czech Republic in the round robin. Jake was playing his best hockey of the year with the Pats before he left for the tournament and in talking to him on Tuesday he says his confidence has only grown. The team needs him to start finding his scoring touch again.
ZBOROVSKIY SHINES - Pats defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy scored for Team Russia last night in Kelowna against Team WHL in game 2 of the 2015 Canada - Russia Series. WHL took the contest 4-2 with an empty netter late. The 18-year-old New York Rangers prospect looked much better in the second game of the series, as did the entire Russian team who were beaten 7-3 in game 1. Zborovskiy is hopig his performance warrants an invite to his home country's training camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship. He will be back in time to join the Pats for Fridays game. Team WHL did their job winning both games to start the series, it's the first time that has happened in 6 years. Up next Russia will take on Team OHL.
HOBBS IS A QUESTION MARK - Defenceman Connor Hobbs status for the weekend is up in the air. He took an elbow from the Moose Jaw Warriors Brett Howden last Saturday and missed the next two games. He has yet to practice but there are still two days before the Red Deer rebels come to town so it is possible he could be back.
BE BETTER FLINT MICHIGAN - I imagine most of you have heard the story out of Flint were the OHL's Firebirds have been through quite some turmoil. The clubs owner fired the entire coaching staff after his son was not receiving what he deemed sufficient ice time. The firings came right after the Firebirds came back from down 3-0 to the defending Memorial Cup Champion Oshawa Generals and won 4-3. The players, including the owners son quit the team saying they would come back when the coaches were re-hired. The staff was then taken back and given new three year contracts and the players are back and ready to play. Talk about an absolute embarrassment but at least things seem to be worked out.
ALFREDSSON CRITICIZES JUNIOR HOCKEY - Long time Ottawa Senators star Daniel Alfredsson has come out and publicly spoken against how junior players are handled in terms of the way they play the game. I have included a link to the article below but the coles notes is that he believes junior players should not be playing with as much structure as they do and should be allowed more creativity on the ice. He admits the junior game now allows players to be more pro-ready but thinks it's not necessarily a good thing. It's an interesting take, What are your thoughts? Personally I believe there is a lot of creativity in the WHL, including here in Regina. The dump and chase, trap style of hockey is not what I see every night. I see a very fast style that is exciting to watch. Maybe it's different out east. I don't know. Anyway, here is the article: http://ottawacitizen.com/sports/hockey/nhl/senatorsextra/junior-hockey-training-lacks-creativity-alfredsson-says
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER - Jaromir Jarg does not play like a 43-year-old man. Watching the Flames and Panthers last night and Jagr continues to impact the game. He made a great pass to set up an Aaron Ekblad goal and then got the game winner in the 3rd, his 7th of the year. He's got 12 points in 13 games this year. I love that he is still this good. The Flames meanwhile...
LEAFS WIN - The Leafs season has been a struggle, that is well documented. However, Mike Babcock has this team working so hard and for the second time this year they beat the Dallas Stars last night. The Stars are the top team in the Western Conference and yet Toronto has managed to win twice in as many games. The Leafs may not win many but they give an honest effort every night. It's good to see. It helps that James Reimer has been good in goal, anything less than stellar goaltending will result in a loss.
Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7! My guests tonight are forwards Rykr Cole and Adam Berg as well as defenceman Brady Pouteau. It all gets underway at 6:30.
That's all I have today, have a great rest of the week!